This is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive as a dentist in Sunnyvale. Does a patient who has periodontitis really need a deep cleaning?
One of my patients wanted a cleaning because he noticed he had build-up on his teeth. He had deeper pockets that were accompanied with red, puffy gums and calculus. He knew he had periodontitis but wasn't sure why he needed a deep cleaning (known as Scaling/Root Planing to dentists and hygienists) instead of a routine cleaning.
As you may remember from my last blog post, in cases of periodontitis, you will have deeper pockets and inflammation of your gums. When we don't brush and floss regularly, calculus can build up between your teeth and under your gums. A deep cleaning allows us to thoroughly access the areas between your teeth and underneath your gums. By removing calculus, bacteria, and build-up from underneath your gums, the goal of a deep cleaning is to improve your gums and the overall health of your mouth.
X-rays help us detect whether you have any calculus under your gums. The blue circles placed on the first photo (x-ray) above show us the presence of calculus (the white projections coming from the teeth).
The second photo shows calculus on the front teeth. Many patients call us for appointments because they notice this build-up on their teeth. The third photo is a photo taken during the patient's deep cleaning. You can see the difference between areas where calculus has been removed and where calculus still remains.
Our patient told us he immediately noticed a difference in his teeth after his deep cleaning. He was ecstatic and amazed at how smooth and clean his teeth felt after the deep cleanings and has been especially motivated to improve his oral hygiene habits (brushing and flossing) at home.
Deep cleanings and periodontal therapy are recommended for patients with periodontitis because they allow us to remove bacteria from under your gums. The goal of a deep cleaning is to reduce the inflammation of your gums by removing the calculus and bacteria. If you notice calculus on or in between your teeth that you'd like cleaned off, schedule an appointment with our team! We're here in Sunnyvale, and we'd love to help you out.